Rainier Beach and South Lake HS at Microsoft

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Hi All

We had a fabulous event yesterday held at Microsoft.

The girls got to tour either the Microsoft Retail Experience or Xbox Studios. We brought 2 schools and 40 girls and they picked one of the tours.

Then we all met for lunch and a panel of Microsoft women talked about their careers and stories. It was an extraordinary day and the girls left knowing they could do any career they set their minds to and saw the possibilities made real. There are many people we want to thank for making this day so special for this group of girls.

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Thank you to Aparna Vishwanathan, for always taking care of each and every detail so that our day is made amazing and wonderful. Thank you to Christine Alexander for partnering with Aparna to make sure each and every detail is done and ready. You are both women who make this day come alive and give the girls a day they will never forget. It is your work that lays the foundation for this important work with girls to happen. Thank you both.

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Thank you to the amazing women who gave the tour at the Microsoft Retail Experience. When we saw the girls after the tour, it was obvious to everyone how powerful and moving this experience was for them. We want to thank you for caring so much to make this a world class experience, that inspires the girls to pursue these career choices. Thank you to Esther Christoffersen, Connie Yau, Melinda Dobey, Femila Anilkumar, who chaperones the Retail Experience tour. The girls expressed the moving and captivating experience that made such a powerful impression on them.

Also, we want to thank the women who gave the tour at Xbox Studios. The girls came back so excited and had a truly memorable experience. Each time a group goes to Xbox Studios, they are so inspired by what they see, what they try and the kinds of careers there. Thank you to Jessie Thomas, and Marianna Rios Flores. It was such an uplifting experience.

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Thank you to the lunch panel speakers who shared their real stories with the girls. It is so heartwarming to see how much you are willing to be vulnerable, open and sincere. The girls can see how much you care that they understand these career choices are exceptional and that they are needed and wanted in this industry. You are all such inspirational women. Thank you to Vazjier Rosario, Senior Program Manager, Sonja Nordmark, Program Manager, Christine Alexander, Business Administrator, Femila Amilkumar, Senior Content Developer, Mariana Rios, Software Engineer, Ani Babaian, Program Manager, and Heather Brown, Program Manager.

We want to thank the great, remarkable IGNITE teachers from Rainier Beach and South Lake High Schools. IGNITE would not exist at the schools without the dedication and commitment of the teachers.  They inspire, encourage, support and educate each and everyday. And they participate in IGNITE, as a volunteer, to make sure their students get these chances to learn about STEM careers. They know that if girls are encouraged in this way, we can change the course of their lives. So they work extra hard to be an IGNITE teacher.

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Thank you to Michelle Spencer, GRADS Teachers South Lake HS, ( GRADS is a special program for teen mothers and Michelle has been the outstanding GRADS teacher for 7 years, and she has been the IGNITE teacher at South Lake the entire time.

Thank you to Paige Wakamatsu, new IGNITE teacher from South Lake and the math teacher at the school. Thank you Paige for joining IGNITE and caring to partner with Michelle to make sure girls get these opportunities.

Thank you to Brian Fleishman, and Matt Holt, both technology teachers at Rainier Beach High School, and new to IGNITE this year; they jumped in with both feet and now are totally committed to the program. Thank you both for all you do to encourage your female students to STEM careers.

Thank you to Audra Eng who is IGNITE Director of Development and Operations. She attends each and every event and does so much for IGNITE each and everyday. Thank you for your steady and unwavering commitment to move IGNITE forward.

Here are the comments from the girls survey forms. They always say it best.

This event inspired me that I can do anything of I set my mind to it. I am now interested in computer science. Grade 12

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I really enjoyed all of the mentor’s stories and how they were not afraid to share their struggles and how they found a way to overcome them. I became very inspired just by listening to their advice and tips. I can’t wait to go home and finish all of my pending school work to pursue learning more on the internet about all of the things I heard today. Grade 10

I learned so much about empowering myself. Everything was perfect. Grade 11


I really liked the tour we went on today. It inspired me to learn more about these careers and what I can do. Grade 12

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It was inspiring hearing about everyone’s backgrounds. How they all got to Microsoft. Grade 11

Seeing how the women struggled to make it where they are today, helped me realize that I can do it no matter what. Grade 11

The technology really inspired me to get more into it. Grade 9

I loved hearing the women’s stories, it was very inspiring to me. Grade 9


The stories were amazing. They inspired me with their background stories. Grade 9

Learning different things today made me more interested in pursuing technology careers.

I enjoyed learning how being able to speak two languages can open your mind, I didn’t think much of it before. Grade 10

I enjoyed the speakers and all of their stories. They are very inspiring and I want to learn more. Grade 10

The tour was amazing and I learned about so many different careers you can do. Grade 112015-12-17 12.05.46 HDR

This whole day was so cool. I feel like I was in the future already. It made me want to work for Microsoft. Grade 9

Learning about the games, how Xbox and Microsoft been doing and how they hire kids to play the games. I learned they want more women in tech.

This was an amazing day. I learned a lot of new things and it inspired me to think about my career. Grade 9


I was so inspired by learning the women’s backgrounds and how they got to where they are today. Grade 11

I liked seeing the Microsoft mall and new technology. I also liked hearing the women of technology stories. The different paths to get where you want to be, and to be able to do multiple things. Grade 12

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I enjoyed how everyone that spoke had some kind of interesting battle getting through college and growing up. Grade 11

Everyone has an interesting story. I thought these sounded like great jobs 🙂 Grade 9

I enjoyed today, Xbox I appreciate how much you guys give us your time. Thank you so much. Grade 9







Thank you so much to everyone, for making this day possible.